7 Healthy 4th of July Salads

Want to balance your holiday indulgences with some flavorful, yet healthy salads? Look no more. Following are some tasty, dairy-free and gluten-free options for your picnics and BBQs all summer long. From kale to coleslaw to quinoa and everything in between. Here’s to independence from boring deli salads! Continue reading

Rockstar Granola -With or Without a Recipe

Granola Recipe

Granola is one of the more simplistic baking endeavors. Yet, there are several granola recipes which have reached national notoriety. Ironically, the creators of these recipes are on the opposite ends of the country.

The first granola recipe from Eleven Madison restaurant in New York City, my adopted hometown. Yes, at the end of the 15 course, $295 per head prix-fixe dinner, you are presented with a mason jar of the house granola. It is an unexpected and lovely touch. You ration the hell out of that granola because it is probably the best you’ve ever had. And, you know you won’t be getting more anytime soon. Or ever. Continue reading

Turmeric Golden Milk Basics

Turmeric Golden MilkTurmeric Golden Milk, the classic Ayurvedic beverage, is known for its many therapeutic benefits. While an array of Golden Milk recipes exist, the key ingredient is always turmeric, often with ginger, both of which are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. In fact, thousands of research studies on just turmeric and its most active constituent, curcumin, show it may be beneficial in preventing and/or treating over six hundred health conditions. And turmeric, also known as ‘Indian Solid Gold’ has been found comparable to fourteen various drugs and medications —without adverse side effects, even at doses up to 8,000 mg per day (about one rounded teaspoon of dried turmeric).

Given the impressive data on turmeric’s benefits to nearly every bodily system, I try to incorporate turmeric into my daily cooking, not just the occasional curry dish. I’ve grown fond of the drink, finding it equally welcome and as comforting in the morning as it is before bed. Start or end the day golden —or both!

Following are options for making Turmeric Golden Milk, which provide flexibility depending on what ingredients you prefer and keep on hand. They also provide preparation options geared towards trying the recipe once or want convenience tips to make it quickly on a regular basis.

urmeric Golden Milk Ingredients

TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK COMPONENTS:

  • Milk Base: To maximize the anti-inflammatory benefits, use a non-dairy milk alternative, such as almond, rice or hemp milk, etc. or use coconut milk.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is added as a fat source to aid absorption of the turmeric. This is not necessary if using coconut milk, due to the higher fat content.
  • Turmeric: Either fresh turmeric root or dried, ground turmeric will work. I prefer the fresh root as it gives a freshness to the drink while the powdered form can bring a bitterness in higher quantities. To prepare a small quantity of fresh turmeric, simply grate the unpeeled root using a microplane or process in a high-speed blender.
    Convenience Tip: Make frozen Turmeric Cubes
  • Ginger: Optional, but highly recommended. It not only adds anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, the flavor nicely balances out any bitterness of the turmeric. If using, I strongly prefer the fresh root, rather than ground ginger. To quickly make a small batch of ginger juice, simply grate a 3-4 inch knob of ginger using a microplane or ginger grater, then use a spoon or spatula to press the juice through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
    Convenience Tip: Make frozen Ginger Juice Cubes
  • Sweetener: This recipe uses Medjool dates. If using Deglet Noor dates, you will need a few more as these are smaller and have less natural sweetness. I like using dates as they provide added minerals as well as fiber, which also thickens the drink. You can also use honey or coconut sugar. Start with 1 teaspoon per cup and add more to taste.
    Convenience Tip: Make Date Paste

OPTIONAL TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK INGREDIENTS: 

  • Black Pepper (Optional): Adding black pepper can increase the bioavailability of turmeric by as much 2000%. A little goes a long way and freshness is probably as important as quantity. So, either use freshly cracked black pepper or crush 3 or 4 black peppercorns before adding to the saucepan.
  • Arrowroot (Optional): Added for thickening the milk base. Simply add 1 tablespoon of arrowroot per cup of the cool liquid (almond milk, etc.), whisk until well combined, then add to the remainder of the drink mix as it is warming in the saucepan. No thickener is needed if using coconut milk.
  • Aromatics (Optional): 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cinnamon stick, 3-4 cardamom pods or others. Add one or more. These can be added to the liquid for more flavoring, infusing into the beverage as it is warmed on the stove top, then strained out before any blending and serving.

TIPS FOR MAKING TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK  

  • Do not let the Turmeric Golden Milk boil. You want to only heat the beverage to a simmer. Boiling will diminish the health benefits of the turmeric and ginger
  • Avoid stains! Turmeric is used as a textile dye. You will see why! Use a stainless steel whisk and/or rubber spatula when preparing the mixture. Avoid using wooden spoons or any cloths you don’t want to turn golden.
  • Golden Milk can be made in advance and kept in a refrigerated, air-tight stainless steel or glass container for several days. Then, simply reheat.
  • Turmeric is an acquired taste. Some people prefer to start with lower quantities of turmeric in the recipe and increase the amount gradually.
  • As is the case with so many herbs and spices, turmeric should be used with caution.
    • Individuals with gallstones should only take turmeric under the direction of their doctor.
    • Because turmeric slows blood-clotting, it should not be taken by those with clotting disorders or before surgery.
    • Excessive turmeric should be avoided in people with congestive heart failure.
    • Since turmeric is included in Ayurvedic formulas for birth control, women trying to become pregnant should limit their consumption of the spice.
    • Women who are pregnant or nursing should discuss using turmeric with their doctor.

TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK RECIPES

Yield: 3 servings

INGREDIENTS – ALMOND MILK VERSION:

  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pureed or grated fresh turmeric (or 2 teaspoons ground)
  • 1/4 cup ginger juice (juice from a 3-4″ piece of ginger)
  • 1/4 cup date paste or 6 Medjool dates, pitted, soaked for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional for improved turmeric absorption)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Dash sea salt

INGREDIENTS – COCONUT MILK VERSION:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup pureed or grated fresh turmeric (or 2 teaspoons ground)
  • 1/4 cup ginger juice (juice from a 3-4″ piece of ginger)
  • 1/4 cup date paste or 6 Medjool dates, pitted, soaked for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Dash sea salt

TURMERIC GOLD MILK DIRECTIONS:

  • If using date paste – Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until warm
  • If using soaked dates – Blend all ingredients (except aromatics, if using) in a blender until smooth. Then, heat the blended mixture in a saucepan with any aromatics (remove them before serving).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

How to Make Turmeric Anti-Inflammation Cubes
How to Make Ginger Juice – Without a Juicer
Three Ways to Get the Most From Turmeric

Have you tried Turmeric Golden Milk? If so, what do you think about it? If not, do you think you might give it a try? Please leave a comment below!

REFERENCES:

1] Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.

[2] “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. J Clin Immunol. 2007 Jan;27(1):19-35. Epub 2007 Jan 9.
[3] 
600 Reasons Turmeric May Be the World’s Most Important Herb
[4] Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75.
[5] Natural Products and Molecular Therapy, First International Conference. New York, NY: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1056, 2005.
[6] Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemoprotective agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anti-cancer Res. 2001; July-Aug 21:2895-2900.
[7] Is Turmeric As Effective As Fourteen Other Drugs? Sacred Plant’s Ingredient, Curcumin, Holds Key To Health Benefits? Medical Daily.
[8] Bioavailability of Curcumin: Problems and Promises Mol Pharmaceutics Vol. 4, NO. 6, 807-818
[9] Dietary turmeric potentially reduces the risk of cancer. 
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(12):3169-73.
[10] Turmeric Health Benefits: Have a Happy New Year With Turmeric. Andrew Weil, MD
[11] Why You Should Always Eat Pepper with Turmeric. Michael Greger, MD
[12] Biochemical Basis of Enhanced Drug Bioavailability by Peperine: Evidence that Peperine is a Potent Inhbitor of Drug Metabolism. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. Vol. 232, No. 1

 

 

 

Coconut Cashew Cream Layer Bars

Coconut Cashew Cream-Filled Layer BarsBy request, I created these Coconut Cashew Cream Layer Bars as a vegan and raw version of my Healthy Nanaimo Bars. Rather than graham cracker crumbs for the base, I use a fiber-rich mix of dates, oats and nuts. A coconut cashew cream filling provides healthy fats and replaces condensed milk or pudding mix. And for the chocolate layer, polyphenol-packed raw cacao and coconut oil are the base. Maple syrup and dates are the only sweeteners. Raw, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free – these are suitable for almost any guests! Continue reading

No-Bake Healthy Nanaimo Bars

Healthy Nanaimo BarsNanaimo Bars were a ubiquitous treat growing up. After all, growing up in Seattle, we were not so distant neighbors with the bars’ eponymous Canadian city. You guessed it, Nanaimo. There are countless recipes claiming to be ‘the original’. And, while they have varying ingredients making up those three layers, they all use a lot of packaged items (pudding mix, graham crackers, condensed milk, processed cocoa powder, etc.) and a lot of sugar. I mean a LOT. But, there’s no doubt, Nanaimo Bars became a cult classic because they are easy to make and have an enticing variety of flavors and textures in every bite.  Continue reading

Easy Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Gluten-Free Pie CrustI was never a pie baker. Why bother when your mother and sister-in-law are masters of the art? But, when spending the holidays away from the family, the idea of baking my own gluten-free pie crust seemed a bit daunting, risky, and downright uninspiring.

This gluten-free pie crust recipe from Marth Rose Shulman changed my mind and made a pie baker out of me. Although I must admit that I do not own a rolling-pin. A wine bottle works just fine. This crust is flakey, slightly nutty and pretty much fail-proof. I love the recipe for these reasons: Continue reading

Black Bean Chipotle Bisque

Chipotle Bleack Bean Soup

It’s soup and sweater time! This soup, like one of my favorite sweaters, is warm, dark, and comforting —with a little sass. In this version, I added some coconut milk to make it even creamier and cozier. Rich in protein and fiber, it tastes like an indulgence, but it’s not. Bring on the cold. I’m ready.

The chipotle pepper really sets this recipe apart from other bean soups, providing a hint of heat and smokiness. The dried peppers can be found in the ethnic section of most larger grocery stores. You can create your own chipotle powder by simply grinding the dried peppers in a spice or coffee grinder. But, remove the seeds first if you want more smokiness than heat.

Continue reading

Chipotle Coleslaw

Chipotle Coleslaw

This dish is all about the creamy chipotle avocado dressing. Combine silky avocado, zesty lemon and the smoky kick of chipotle pepper. You won’t miss the mayo!

Customize the vegetable and fruit blend to make it your own. Savoy cabbage is particularly good for slaw salads. Savoy cabbage is more tender and less bitter than the green or red cabbage typically used for coleslaw. As such, there’s no need to salt it before serving it uncooked. Dice, grate, slice…it really doesn’t matter much. But, keep the produce sections thin to ease even dressing coverage. Customize the volume as you like. But, who doesn’t like having a salad ready to go in the fridge? Chop now and be veggie-ready for days!

Continue reading

Quinoa & Black Bean Confetti Salad

Quinoa Black Bean SaladIt’s not easy to love a minimum wage job at a mall. But, I loved my part-time job at Pasta & Co. In the 80’s, fresh pasta was a retail novelty. While Pasta & Co was one of Seattle’s first retailers to offer fresh pasta, it was their specialty sauces and prepared foods which captured my imagination. The owner, Marcella Rosene put a creative twist on everything in that store, from selecting unique and defining recipe ingredients, such as black sesame oil to her beautifully hand scripted product labels. In her stores, something as simple as croutons were memorable. Pasta & Co. The Cookbook, the first cookbook I ever bought myself, is still with me today, dog-eared and splattered. The book is now out of print. But, I noticed a few new copies available on Amazon for $215! Continue reading

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

Cauliflower-Yam Pizza Crust

Pectin makes cauliflower quite the chameleon, disguising itself as ‘mashed potatoes’, ‘rice’ or even ‘steaks’. But, when I kept reading about cauliflower pizza crust, my reaction was ‘I don’t think so’. That is, until I read friend and colleague, Michelle Babb’s version in Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy’. Trying this recipe set me on a quest to find the ultimate cauliflower crust. If you are curious, skeptical or intrigued about cauliflower pizza crusts, let me save you a lot of time. This is the best one I’ve tried yet. But, stay tuned as I’m on a mission to find a cauliflower pizza crust recipe for a variety of dietary preferences. Let it be said. Let it be done.  Continue reading